WESTFIELD, Ind. — Today was Day 4 of the Indianapolis Colts’ 2019 training camp practices at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind.
Here were some top takeaways from the day’s session:
— Among those who sat out Sunday’s practice were tight end Gabe Holmes (ankle), defensive end Kemoko Turay (shoulder), defensive end Jabaal Sheard (knee) and defensive tackle/end Denico Autry (maintenance day off). Head coach Frank Reich said after Sunday’s practice that Sheard, who had an MRI on his knee, “will miss some time,” but added the team is still evaluating how severe the injury is.
— Two rookie wide receivers — Penny Hart and Parris Campbell — suffered hamstring injuries during Sunday’s practice and didn’t return, Reich said. The Colts are off Monday, but we’ll see if there’s any update from Reich on Tuesday.
— Those who missed Saturday’s practice who returned Sunday: quarterback Andrew Luck, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, tackle Anthony Castonzo, tight end Jack Doyle and defensive tackle Margus Hunt.
— Andrew Luck was back on the field in pads on Sunday after having maintenance day off on Saturday. Like before, Luck participated in warmups, position drills, handoffs, routes with receivers vs. air, and his second day of 7-on-7s. In the 7-on-7s, Luck completed five of his 11 passes, all to different receivers: Marlon Mack, Devin Funchess, Ross Travis, Parris Campbell and Deon Cain. Luck threw a would-be touchdown to Cain, who caught the ball in the back, right corner of the end zone and was hit immediately by cornerback Jalen Collins, but held on for the score. Note: Luck's portion of the 7-on-7s took place in the red zone, which compresses the field and leaves a higher likelihood for incompletions. Another note: Frank Reich said after practice it was still too early to tell whether Luck would take another step forward and get some 11-on-11 reps later this week.
— When 11-on-11s began, the offensive line configurations remained the same as it has been: Anthony Castonzo (left tackle), Quenton Nelson (left guard), Ryan Kelly (center), Mark Glowinski (right guard) and Braden Smith (right tackle). The second unit was Antonio Garcia (left tackle), Jake Eldrenkamp (left guard), Josh Andrews (center), Joe Haeg (right guard) and Le’Raven Clark (right tackle). The third unit was J’Marcus Webb (left tackle), Daniel Munyer (left guard/center), Evan Boehm (center/left guard), William Poehls (right guard) and Jackson Barton (right tackle).
— Seeing some first-team reps at the skill positions were Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines at running back, T.Y. Hilton, Devin Funchess, Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, Daurice Fountain and Krishawn Hogan at receiver, and Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron and Mo Alie-Cox at tight end.
— Before team drills got underway, quarterbacks and centers paired off, with Luck taking snaps from Ryan Kelly, Brissett taking snaps from Andrews, Chad Kelly taking snaps from Boehm, and Phillip Walker taking snaps from Haeg.
— Chad Kelly, who split second and third-team reps with Phillip Walker again today, had some big plays throughout practice. First, he hit Hines about 25 yards down the right sideline as Hines completed a wheel route. Next, Kelly roped a pass about 30 yards down the left side to Hogan. Later, Kelly scrambled around and bought some time, finding receiver Deon Cain about 30 yards down the middle of the field right in front of the end zone (though he would’ve been sacked earlier in the play; see below). Near the end of practice, Kelly found tight end Billy Brown down the right seam, resulting in roughly a 40-yard touchdown.
— Mack had a big run that likely would've resulted in about a 25-yard gain; he received the handoff and had a huge lane right in front of him. He made some slight moves and raced safety Malik Hooker to the far sideline.
— Hines had a would-be touchdown as he took the handoff while lined up in the backfield in the shotgun, chugging five yards down the left side and diving to the pylon. Running back Jonathan Williams had his own five-yard score later in practice as Kelly faked the end-around to Fountain and handed it off to Williams, who took it into the end zone.
— Parris Campbell at times stole the show for the offense on Sunday. On one play in 11-on-11s, Walker, lined up at the defense's five-yard line, lofted a pass into the back, left corner of the end zone for Campbell. The rookie tapped the ball to himself and caught it in the back of the end zone, getting both feet in before falling out of the back, leading to a chest bump with Cain and cheers all around for the rookie out of Ohio State (sorry, THE Ohio State).
— Practice wouldn't be complete without a big play from Hilton, and we got that Sunday. Jacoby Brissett looked for him deep down the left side and connected with The Ghost, who first shook safety Clayton Geathers, for approximately 40 yards in front of cornerback Pierre Desir. It was a high, lofting pass that Hilton tracked down and showed his trademark focus to come down with the ball despite being draped in coverage. (See below)
— Brissett would also find Funchess on a big play, as Brissett scrambled to his right and flung the ball off-balance, getting it about 30 or so yards down the right side to a wide-open Funchess. Brissett then hit Ebron about 15 to 20 yards down the left seam, hitting the tight end perfectly in stride.
— The offense “won” 12 of the 32 (38 percent) reps of one-on-one reps between the pass catchers and the defensive backs on Sunday, with a “win” meaning the pass was caught or defensive pass interference was called. A “win” for the defense means any other result. These matchups were done from 10 and five yards out. Here is how it broke down: Hogan def. Kenny Moore II; Rogers def. Chris Milton; Hale Hentges def. Isaiah Johnson; Alie-Cox def. Khari Willis; Ashton Dulin def. Marvell Tell III (Dulin made a nice leaping catch, falling to the ground); Campbell def. Jalen Collins (Campbell had a great route, faking to the inside and then turning outside. Offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni ran over and high-fived Campbell, and Funchess came over for a chest bump); Steve Ishmael def. Milton; Jordan Veasy def. Rock Ya-Sin; Johnson def. Collins; Doyle def. Clayton Geathers; Penny Hart def. Moore II (Moore II tipped the ball, and Hart caught it); Funchess def. Nate Hairston.
(via Jake Arthur/Colts.com)
— Second-round pick Rock Ya-Sin was an unquestioned star of the defense for the Colts on Sunday, logging a couple interceptions and continuing a theme from the offseason workout program. In 7-on-7 work, Ya-Sin nabbed a tipped pass thrown by Andrew Luck. Then, in 11-on-11 work, Jacoby Brissett’s pass was batted down at the line, and Ya-Sin was in the right place at the right time yet again, diving to secure another pick. Ya-Sin’s arrow definitely seems to be pointing up; he was getting plenty of “first-team” reps in as an outside corner in the Colts’ nickel package on Sunday, and he’s also being used plenty in various roles on special teams.
— With Autry and Sheard out on Sunday, it was Tyquan Lewis (three-tech) and Al-Quadin Muhammad (defensive end) filling into those roles along the defensive line throughout the day. Jihad Ward was also among those getting in some “first-team” reps within the defensive interior.
— The Colts on Sunday at times showed a “second unit” defensive line of Ben Banogu and Gerri Green at defensive end and Grover Stewart and Ward at defensive tackle. But we’ll repeat ourselves once again with this message: because defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is so intent on mixing and matching as many defensive players as possible throughout practice, it’s tough to get a good read on who might be considered “second team” or “third team.”
— The Colts mixed it up at strong safety on Sunday, getting George Odum and rookie Khari Willis plenty of reps in the secondary. Clayton Geathers was able to participate on Sunday, though he is one of several players head coach Frank Reich had mentioned would be monitored over the first seven to 10 days of camp as a precaution.
— While the “first-team” linebackers have consistently been Darius Leonard (WILL), Anthony Walker (MIKE) and Matthew Adams (SAM), one could likely consider the group of Adams (WILL), Bobby Okereke (MIKE) and Ahmad Thomas/Zaire Franklin as the second unit at the position.
— Speaking of Franklin, the second-year linebacker flashed on multiple occasions Sunday. First, he broke through the line for a would-be sack of Chad Kelly, who was allowed to continue to play regardless, scrambled around and found Deon Cain wide open around the 10-yard line for about a 40-yard pass play that never would’ve happened in a real game. Then, in a red zone drill late in practice, Franklin absolutely blew up running back Aca’Cedric Ware in in the open field. It was one of those types of hits that had a classic sound that belongs on EA Sports’ Madden NFL franchise.
— A late red zone and goal-to-go drill showed off Leonard’s progress in pass coverage. On a third down play, Leonard sped in and knocked down a pass attempt to running back Nyheim Hines on the far sideline, which likely would’ve forced a field goal attempt. After a reset, on the very next play — 1st and Goal from the 9 — Leonard read screen pass all the way to T.Y. Hilton, and brought him down for what would’ve been a loss of about four yards. Leonard last year had one of the best seasons by a rookie linebacker in NFL history, but said shedding blocks and working on his coverage skills were his top goals heading into Year 2. So far, so good for No. 53.
— The team being in pads for a second straight day led to some particularly physical reps, especially towards the end of practice during a goal-to-go drill, in which the offense is trying to get into the end zone, and the defense is trying to defend it (OK, duh, but you get the point). These reps weren’t “live,” necessarily — meaning the ballcarrier wasn’t typically being brought all the way to the ground — but everything else was poppin’, from the big fellas in the trenches, to the battles for positioning between receivers and defensive backs, to the initial hits being laid by the linebackers (before letting up a bit).
— The defense overall had a solid performance in one-on-one drills pitting the pass catchers and the defensive backs, forcing an incompletion on 20-of-32 plays (63 percent). Here’s the defensive victories: Pierre Desir def. Devin Funchess; Malik Hooker def. Eric Ebron; George Odum def. Jack Doyle; Nate Hairston def. Zach Pascal; Quincy Wilson def. Daurice Fountain; Rock Ya-Sin def. Jordan Veasy; Jalen Collins def. Marcus Johnson; Kenny Moore II def. Penny Hart; Matthias Farley def. Eric Ebron; Derrick Kindred def. Billy Brown; Pierre Desir def. Steve Ishmael; Rolan Milligan def. Hale Hentges; Nate Hairston def. Zach Pascal (Hairston got the interception); Shakial Taylor def. Krishawn Hogan; Khari Willis def. Mo Alie-Cox; Quincy Wilson def. Billy Brown; Kenny Moore II def. Daurice Fountain; Marvell Tell III def. Penny Hart (Tell III came down with the interception); Matthias Farley def. Eric Ebron; Isaiah Johnson def. Hale Hentges.
(via Andrew Walker/Colts.com)
— The team opened practice with a 12-play punt drill. After the first rep, with Clayton Geathers in as the protector and Chris Milton and George Odum rushing down the field as gunners, assistant special teams coach Frank Ross challenged his coverage team. “Field it out of the air! We’ve gotta be ready to run!”
— Also working in as protectors during this punt drill were Nyheim Hines and Khari Willis. Other gunners were Nate Hairston, Marcus Johnson, Matthias Farley, Rock Ya-Sin, Jalen Collins and Quincy Wilson.
— Those fielding punts were Chester Rogers, Parris Campbell, Penny Hart and Hines. Campbell, who showed some struggles for the first time with a few attempts on Saturday, fought back with a strong returning performance on Sunday.
(via Andrew Walker/Colts.com)